Bangalore ashram, Jan. 19:
Q: How important is prana (life force energy)? One, of course, is it gives life. How does one improve one’s prana?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Prana is present in everything. In fact, we are floating in air, in prana, an ocean of prana. When the unit of expression varies, it makes a difference. Stones have got one unit of prana. Water has got two units of prana. Fire has got three units of prana. Air has got four units of prana. Plants have got five units of prana. Animals have got six units of prana. Human beings are capable of holding from seven to 16 units of prana. The expression of prana is the whole universe. When prana is lower than one, that’s when you feel depressed. When prana goes further low then you feel suicidal. When prana is normal, you feel normal. When prana is higher, you feel enthusiastic. When prana is very high, you feel energetic and blissful. That is why when people are depressed, low just giving counseling doesn’t work, what needs to be done is to raise the level of prana. When prana is high there is joy, vibrancy, understanding. When prana is low, then the mind starts complaining, depression, lethargy, suicidal tendencies arise. All is play and display of prana.
Q: Guruji, the other day you talked about effort and effortless. But it needs lot of effort to be effortless.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It’s worth doing it.
Q: Why was Krishna’s navel called Padamnabha (solar plexus)?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The solar plexus is called the second brain or mid brain. For a yogi, the solar plexus is larger in size. Scientists have also said this. It is small in a person who doesn’t do yoga and meditation. A yogi who does meditation and yoga has a larger solar plexus. When solar plexus is larger, one is creative and generous. When it is smaller, one is jealous.
Lord Krishna is called Padamnabha, his solar plexus was like a fully blossomed flower. Padma not only means lotus, it also means flower. Fully blossomed flower is usually referred to as padma.
Q: There are so many attractions and distractions but still youth are so bored.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Youth are bored and it’s their fortune. If they were satisfied, then growth would have stopped. When they are bored, then the quest comes in them. They are not satisfied with the things available around. And this is the stage when they can take a step to look within, a leap in their inner journey, a step towards spirituality. An interest in higher growth gets kindled, when you are bored with things around. When you find the source of joy within, then obviously everything around is also reflecting the same source of joy, then you find interest in everything. Continuous bombardment of senses by stimuli can cause inertia. Inertia is boredom, is a form of boredom. Again, when prana level goes up, you move from inertia to enthusiasm.
Q: Guruji, you give so much importance to Satsang. Is there any scientific reason behind?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Satsang means the company of reality, being in touch with the truth. Satsang is not just singing. Singing some complicated songs which you don’t understand is not Satsang. Music is a part of it. The second part is understanding the logic. The third part is sitting and reposing in yourself, in deep meditation, being with yourself.
Q: Why does the Divine answer and reward some while the prayers of others go unanswered?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Well, I don’t know why some prayers get answered and some are not. I have no idea. Perhaps it is good for you. Perhaps you may change your mind about what you want. People go for shopping - this often happens at least in India - go for shopping and ask shopkeeper, ‘Can I come later and exchange it if I don’t like it?’ They go home and don’t like it and get it exchanged the next day. The most unreliable thing you have is your own mind because you don’t know what it likes and when it doesn’t like that. That is why bringing mind to its source is so important. Its centeredness is the most important thing in spiritual evolution. Understanding what is transient and what is permanent, what brings you permanent joy and what causes temporary convenience and long term misery, what causes temporary discomfort and permanent joy and what causes long term discomfort. That is what is called viveka, discrimination, wisdom – knowing this from that.
Q: Guruji can a woman follow Brahamcharya (celibacy)?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Brahamcharya - it’s your personal choice. If you want to get married then marry. If you don’t want to get married then don’t marry. There are people who are married and miserable. There are people who are unmarried and miserable. All I want you to be is wise. Be wise in either case. Be centered. That is most important.
Q: Guruji, are there a fixed number of souls or one soul in the whole universe?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Infinite souls. It’s like asking are there fixed number of stars in the sky? There are infinite stars. Vedic shastra and Agma shastra says there are 224 earths, worlds like ours in this galaxy. There are many but mainly 224. These are the visions of saints who have gone deep in meditation and explored the universe.
Q: You have talked about hidden meanings behind symbols in Hinduism which seems to be very illogical. Could you please talk about many crores of devtas?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Crores, koti means types. 33 crores means 33 types of Divine impulses. In our body also there are 33 types of divine impulses. There are 33 types of genes in our body. A particular type makes the eye, a particular type makes the nose, like that a particular type makes eardrums, hair, nails. All these are made up from a particular type of gene which are of 33 different types.
Like this, there are 33 rays of Divinity. There is one light, one God, one Parmatma yet there are 33 aspects. Devas are the 33 different aspects of Divinity. Here crores is not referred to as a number. The Divine has no form but ancient saints have said you can adore Him in any form or name. All the thousand names belong to God only. This is very, very deep science or deep knowledge. It’s amazing. When you go deeper into this, then you feel the ‘wow’. People - who have written this, have discovered this - have simply stupendous knowledge. The Universe is not so simple. It’s very complex. Modern physics also say that the deeper and deeper you go, there are so many different type of particles. So the universe is diverse. The Divinity which manages, rules, and has made this diverse universe is devta. The English name, David, is a Sanskrit word. Dev + vid, dev means Divinity, vid means to know. David means one who knows Divinity. Divinity is not somewhere up in the heaven. It is present in the world, universe, everywhere. And it has to be realized when the mind is calm, serene and settled in our heart and when the emotion and intellect merge into a serene blend in silence then you are able to perceive the subtle reality of Universe and that is devta.
Q: When a disciple is dead what is the role of the Satguru?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Satguru knows that there is no death to the disciple. Atma never dies. Even after death he continues to get direction on the path.
Q: Guruji, is it difficult for a woman to organize something for she has to manage the home also. How does a woman do it effectively?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Don’t think of anything as difficult. Even if it is difficult, it becomes more difficult when you perceive it to be difficult in your mind. If you get a difficult task to do, however much difficult it seems to be, know that we have an even greater power within. It is available to us and according to that we get tasks to do.
Q: Is the world permanent or changing?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You can see that the world is not permanent.
Q: What is puja?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That which is born from purnata (fullness) is puja. When gratitude is overwhelming, the throat chokes in gratitude then whatever action you perform in such a state is puja. We surrender everything – that bhavana (feeling) is puja.
Q: To whom do I surrender?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: To the Divine who resides within everybody, to that Divine I surrender.
Q: How do we remember the good things and forget the bad?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It is better to forget bad things and it is good to remember good things. Both together are life but we forget this and remember all the negative things. It is important to remember what you hear in Satsang. Forgetting other people’s mistakes is important. Remembering not to repeat our mistakes is important. Remembering lessons from others’ mistakes is also important.
Q: What is meaning of kodagana koli nungitha (a bhajan in Kannada)?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Its meaning is so amazing. I was thinking I was a big person but when I look at the Guru’s feet, so magnanimous. My ego, that I thought was so big and Guru’s feet small, but it was the reverse. The feet of the Guru swallowed my big ego.
Q: What is the meaning of Ashwamedha?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Ashwamedha means to purify. Shwa means that which is the past or future. Ashwa means that which is present and medha means cleansing. Ashwamedha is when the cleansing of the mind and buddhi (intellect) happens in the present moment. Keep the mind/buddhi (intellect) in the present moment.
Q: How to increase atmabal?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Atmabal…do prarthna(prayer), pranayama, sadhana.
Q: What is Guru tattva and who is Guru?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Guru tattva is viveka, discrimination. Does it matter who the Guru is? It is enough to take the knowledge and move forward. Don’t worry who the Guru is.“That which you cannot express is Love.
That which you cannot reject/renounce is Beauty.
That which you cannot avoid is the Truth.”
~ Sri Sri Ravishankar
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